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Brick Arch House, London

By Keith Aldis

This project comprised a full remodel, refurbishment & extension of a four storey Victorian Townhouse, situated in the in Sotheby Conservation Area, one of Islington’s 41 specially protected neighbourhoods.

The clients wanted to adapt and extend their property into a well-planned home with good natural light and flow between spaces so as to make this properly suit the way they wanted to live. The house had to meet their current needs as well as being able to accommodate their young and growing family in future years as the way they live in the house changes.

As well as reconfiguring all floors of the property, the external side return was incorporated into the rear of the ground floor and a further extension was added to the back of the property at this level. Furthermore, the existing lower ground floor was extended to increase the space and provide a better connection to the main house.

The new extensions are a boldly contemporary addition to the main house while referencing and developing the masonry detailing of the original building. On the new rear ground floor elevation, two oversized picture windows forming views into the rear garden are formed by two lines of brick headers, one set back from the other to create a rebated framing detail and provide additional relief to the elevation. Both lozenge windows are highlighted with a surrounding, protruding soldier course around the lintel arch which is continued to ground level to form three stack bonded brick pillars. A new ‘back door’ has also been added to the rear of the side return extension with an arched fanlight over and similar detailing, and a wide arched opening with sliding folding doors to the side of the rear extension completes the composition.

These elements further reference the contrasting arch and jamb detailing to openings to the rear of the existing property.

A contrasting, Staffordshire Blue engineering brick (Wienerberger) was used for the new extensions and this was then also used in external and internal floor finishes to ground the new elements and ensure a simple and restrained palette of materials was used through the scheme. The principal arched openings are formed in self-supporting brickwork and no steel lintels were used.

The arched motif was carried though the interior of the property through design of interior doors and balustrading to the new sweeping staircase which connects the upper and lower ground floors, amongst other details and elements. This reinforces the motif, celebrates the basic form of the principal brick arches which form the centre piece of the whole scheme.

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